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Buckeyes Crootin’ 2022 Class-In-Review: Defensive End Kenyatta Jackson Jr.

In this series, Shane “@BuckeyesCrootin” Bailey will introduce you to every member of the Ohio State 2022 recruiting class.

With all of the offensive commitments scouted and analyzed, we are now moving on to the defense. The side of the ball subject to lots of criticism the past few years. However that is changing fast as the Buckeyes seem to have found an adequate play caller in Matt Barnes. Between that and the youth movement the Buckeyes have committed to, finally playing young stars J.T Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer among Denzel Burke who was already getting significant snaps. An infusion of defensive talent is needed once again for the 2022 Recruiting Class and so far this class is shaping up to have a ton of potential future All-Americans.

Current Defensive Commitments

Edge: Kenyatta Jackson Jr.
Defensive Tackles: None
Linebackers: C.J. Hicks, Gabe Powers
Defensive Backs: Terrance Brooks, Jyaire Brown, Ryan Turner and Kye Stokes


How would you grade the Buckeyes defensive class so far?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    (4 votes)
  • 70%
    (21 votes)
  • 16%
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
30 votes total Vote Now

Kenyatta Jackson Jr. | Edge Rusher
Chaminade-Madonna Prep, Hollywood (Florida)
6-foot-5, 235 pounds.

We are going to start off with the newest Buckeye defensive commit in the class of 2022, Kenyatta Jackson Jr. The Florida native committed to the Buckeyes just hours before I started writing this week’s article, so I figured now would be the best time to see what his game is all about.

Jackson is ranked as the 78th best prospect nationally, the seventh best edge rusher, and the No. 11 player in the state of Florida per the 247Sports Composite Ratings. He is the teammate of current Buckeye commitment, defensive back Ryan Turner at Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Fla.

His family already has left quite the mark on the college football world, as Kenyatta’s Grandfather and two uncles — Rudy Barber, Rudy Barber Jr. and Kantroy Barber — all played collegiate football and all spent time in the NFL. Talk about a good bloodline to have for the gridiron.

The first thing you notice when you see Jackson when you put on the film, is that it looks like he was born to terrorize quarterbacks; he has very long limbs and uses them to his advantage to rush the passer. Standing 6-foot-5, he is the perfect height for what you would want in an edge rusher, and he is supremely athletic with an over 80-inch wingspan.

247Sports has his player comparison as KJ Henry, a defensive end for Clemson, and CBS Sports has compared to him to current New England Patriots edge rusher Matthew Judon.

His long limbs allow him to keep the offensive tackle at a distance, which opens up a wide array of pass rushing maneuvers for an edge rusher to work with. Jackson does not have all of these techniques down quite yet — as few high school players do — but he already shows flashes of some of the more advanced pass rushing techniques on his tape. The next step will be learning to utilize these techniques consistently and mastering their technique for optimum utility.

Jackson doesn’t have to use his length to keep tackles at a distance though, as he shows a great ability to utilize his leverage to grab the lineman and simply throw them aside with a pull-club pass rush move. This technique is a great way to get the offensive tackle off balance with the pull move and then simultaneously stab and pull the inside shoulder of the tackle to get by him quickly.

Jackson had around 20 sacks through his first three seasons on varsity football and continues to add more pass rushing tools to his arsenal. In his first four games of his senior year he compiled five sacks, before unfortunately missing time due to some lingering AC joint issues.

He plays outside linebacker in his school’s 3-4 defense, but he projects quite well to putting his hand in the dirt and being a defensive end in Ohio State’s scheme.

Something all great pass rushers have is elite bend. What I mean by that is when rounding the corner around an offensive tackle, these rushers get their bodies almost parallel to the ground. They dip their shoulders underneath the reach of the tackle thus freeing themselves of their reach. Jackson has great bend and plays with a good forward lean, rounding the corners and often can speed rush around offensive lineman. He keeps his pad-level low and utilizes leverage very well.

How many times do you see a player give up on a play after over-running the quarterback on a pass rush or miss their first tackle on a running back? Some players lack the effort and drive to keep the play going after they make a mistake; Jackson does the opposite.

On film there were multiple examples of Jackson overrunning the QB who then completed the pass. But, instead of giving up on the play, he kept going and eventually ran down the receiver. If Jackson gets knocked down, he keeps fighting until the whistle and that's the effort you love to see out of your star defensive players.

Jackson has a swagger to his game that exudes that “you cant block me” mentality. The mentality that Larry Johnson loves in his rushmen.

He will need to add some more weight to his 6-foot-5 frame in order to handle the massive Big Ten offensive tackles that he will surely be facing in his time with the Buckeyes. I would say getting up to 255 to 260 should be attainable with ease after some time working with Mickey Marotti. Given the growth (figurative and physical that the Ohio State conditioning program has seen in the complete body transformations of guys like Nicholas Petit-Frere and Javontae Jean-Baptiste, you’d have to imagine that Jackson will bulk up in a hurry.

Once Jackson gets a little more size to the frame, his power-rush game will only improve. He will still need to learn a few go-to pass rush moves for when he is in a pinch, but Johnson is the master of teaching those hand fighting techniques and bull rush moves. With an elite defensive lineman finally in the fold, there will surely be a few more to come. In the meantime, who would you all like to see covered next? Answer in the poll below!


What player would you like to see scouted next?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Gabe Powers
    (53 votes)
  • 12%
    Terrance Brooks
    (10 votes)
  • 11%
    Jyaire Brown
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    Kye Stokes
    (1 vote)
  • 5%
    Ryan Turner
    (4 votes)
77 votes total Vote Now